History of Lake Oswego

Welcome to Lake Oswego Oregon - one of Oregon’s premier destinations for community, quality schools, culture and arts. For the fourth year in a row Cottage Magazine Named LakeOswego one of the Top 10 Best Cottage Neighborhoods in the Country. Education is a priority in Lake Oswego and the Lake Oswego Public Library earned the highest Hennen’s American Public Library Ratings (HAPLR) score of all the libraries in Oregon. Lake Oswego is a city of fine restaurants, art galleries, and streets decorated with sculptures and fine art

Up until the mid 1800s, the city of Lake Oswego was home to homesteads and farms, bordered by the Willamette and Tualatin rivers.  


In 1847 by Albert Alonzo Durham, founded the town ofOswego. The first sawmill was the first industry also built by Albert Alonzo Durham.

Today you can visit George Rogers Park were the first iron smelter exists to today

The iron industry peaked in 1890 when it employed some 300 men. Oregon was flourishing n 1890.  The population was growing in Lake Oswego and boasted four general stores, a bank, two barber shops, two hotels, three churches, nine saloons, and Davidson's drugstore, even the opera house was successful.

In 1886, Lake Oswego was a remote place but a narrow gauge railroad between Portland and Oswego was built, making it more assessable. Up until the rail road only river boats and narrow dirt roads granted access to Lake Oswego.  The Southern Pacific Railroad trains motivate residential development in Oswego in the 1920s and 1930s.

The iron industry went its way and a power plant was built on Oswego creek in 1905. The first City Hall was built in 1926 on A Avenue between State and First Streets.

"live where you play." Were the guiding words of Paul Murphy when he developed the Lake Oswego country club by 1930, and the residents were drawn by the natural beauty, building what are now some of Oregon’s fines architectural historical homes.


Lake Oswego has become one of the most superb residential communities in Oregon.
Lake Oswego is known for the quality of its schools, full-service police and fire protection, a top ranked library, award-winning senior center and love of the arts.

You can enjoy the Lake Oswego city owned sports center on the Willamette River, two public swimming facilities on the 405-acre private Oswego Lake, indoor tennis center, 18-hole golf course, outdoor amphitheater right along the river and a premier Saturday market in the summer.  Lake Oswego is a community to definitely live where you play









The following is un-audited data as of October 2006:

Date of Incorporation: 1910
Population: 36,073
Area in square miles: 11.2
Size of Oswego Lake (privately owned and managed): 405 acres
Miles of street: 178
Registered Voters: 23,255
Neighborhood associations: 20

Library: 1
Parks: 27
Picnic shelters: 6
Park and open spaces acreage: 573
Adult community center: 1
Swim parks: 2
Water sports center: 1
Golf course and driving range: 1
Indoor tennis center: 1
Tennis courts (outdoor): 9
Amphitheater: 2

Elementary schools: 9
Secondary schools: 4
Number of instructors: 384
Elementary and secondary students: 6,765
Average students per teacher: 23

Excerpt from the History & Culture section of the City of Lake Oswego website